Good day all,
Unfortunately I had my account disabled automatically because I changed my e-mail address to my new one. It has certainly given me time to crystallise my thoughts.
Firstly, I must say that I initially started this thread to find out an appropriate term in Mandarin (or Cantonese, but the rest of our terms are Mandarin anyway) to do honour to Graham's wonderful workmanship. I feel that this thread took a decidedly negative turn.
And while this came down to the exotification of Taiji, what must be remembered, is that English is very much a borrowing language. If another language uses something that makes it easier to say, or clarifies something better than any previously existing term, then it is incorporated into the language. It's how Shakespeare did it from Latin, it's what the French nobility did with the language when William the Conquerer crossed the channel and it's what happens regularly where there are two or more languages thrown into a melting pot. In the case of Chinese Martial Arts, it just happens to be two languages from very different origins. The same way all us native English speakers have appropriated the word Qi (amongst others) for our use in training. This is the natural course of the language evolving. That it why English is considered to be a living language and Latin is most certainly dead, even though there are people who are still capable of speaking it.
So the reason why we name the swords of cultures from a non-English, or that weren't shared with the English at least, in their native tongue is because there were fundamental differences to them that require appropriation. Hence the generic Chinese Sword is a Jian/Dao. With further descriptors (In Chinese too.)
Secondly, with the way English is used as a language, "Wooden Jian" and "Wooden Sword" are very different in meaning to the various terms that have been developed or borrowed from the Japanese amongst others. Just as the $10 Wooden Jian you get at your average supplies store and the beautiful artwork created by Graham are two totally different entities. Hence why I was seeking something to differentiate them in English.
I shall break them down into generic pieces:
$10 JLO (Jian Like Object)
Same Shape as Original*
Same dimensions as Original
Same Planes as Original
Different Weight to Original
Different Handling Characteristics to Original
Unable to be used in sparring or in any form of hard contact.
Same Shape as Original
Same Dimensions as Original
Different Planes to Original
Same Weight as Original
Same Handling Characteristics as Original.
Able to be used in sparring and potentially hard contact (This has been proven through destructive testing and my own attempts to knock in a Hickory mujian.)
*Original being a correctly proportioned functional Jian.
When listed like this, you can quite easily see the dramatic difference between the two of them. And the sole difference between Grahams and an Original apart from being made of wood? That's a requirement for safety in training, which I'm sure none of us will object to.
The way English is used, especially with a word like 'Sword' is that it is Majestic, it is capable and effective; in this case it's also a weapon. When applying a descriptor to the word that fundamentally changes the properties of it, like Wooden, you lessen the impact of the latter word. Weakening its properties (In this case. I'm sure a Carbon Nanotube Jian would be quite something to see and if weighted right would be quite devastating.). Hence why I wanted to give an accurate description of it in another language without applying a weakening word to it.
To summarise that, the way English is frequently used, a Wooden Jian is: A Jian made out of Wood, created at the expense of the properties of Steel. The same way a Bronze Jian is a Jian made out of Bronze at the expense of steel. A Mujian is: A Jian that happens to be made out of wood that is entirely functional in the training environment.
While that might not be how it is used in Chinese, as I stated earlier, English is a borrowing language, it also fits the words it borrows into the context of the overall whole. It may lessen, or it may enhance the meaning of the individual borrowing. In this case, I would contend that it is the latter. I also started this thread for the correct terms, so that I wouldn't be having any obvious play on words as was raised with White Tiger. (Incidentally, Urban Dictionary has quite a few interesting definitions as well.)
Since we're going into linguistics...
And and because the below quote caused such offence.
J HepworthYoung wrote:The silly pajamas that people often wear to do taiji is a good example.
You mean these ones? http://bit.ly/bDyGet
Or perhaps these: http://bit.ly/dyVtex